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Poster: elkdog Date: Mar 21, 2007 9:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

I think that the Grateful Dead in 1974 were a force of nature that has not been matched. Love the jazz fusion, love Jerry's crystal clear tone, love Phil being all over the place, love Billy K's nimble drumming- the whole band was in peak form. Nice balance of the experimentation and recklessness of the early years and the professional, emotional tightness of '77-'82 or so. GREAT jams on Let It Grow, TOO, Dark Star, Eyes, Scarlet, Playin' and I'm sure I'm forgetting some. Bonus points for the Wall of Sound- maybe the coolest thing any band has ever done for its fans.

Honorable mentions to 1972 (maybe the most creative year in terms of new spaces explored) and 1981 (smooth, polished, great playing).

This post was modified by elkdog on 2007-03-21 16:26:27

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Poster: AKA Smi2les Date: Mar 21, 2007 9:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

I like 81',
smi2les likes 74',
tallpailofh20 likes 77',
patotobanjo likes 64'
bellski likes n2o.

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Poster: ghostofpig Date: Mar 21, 2007 9:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

No split votes, no matter how schizophrenic. However, if each personality signed on . . . .

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Poster: tree-ap Date: Mar 21, 2007 9:32am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

In TOTAL agreement with you Elkdog. While '72 AND '73 are spectacular, and what is probably my fav overall show is 9/28/72---or maybe 2/9 or 15/73? After just the right amount of THC while I was listening to the Dark Star on Live Dead is when I "got" the GD, but the first album that appealed to me in it's entirety was Steal Your Face. You're correct, Jerry's tone on the Irwin Wolf, Phil's wild bass lines, Bob on Black-Throated Wind, Keith's deft piano chops, and Billy the Kid helping to drive it all forward all combined to help the planets align for me. Also, SYF sounds like it has "space" to it, like you're standing in the sweet spot that every venue possessed, where the sound was perfect for the size of the venue. Europe '72 had this same sense of space to the sound of it's recording as well.

Complaints about '74 are few, but here they are:
1. they played too few shows.
2. they gave too many people something to bitch about in Phil & Ned, who, as far as I'm concerned, were as much a part of what the GD are about as any other tune, space, feedback, etc ever played.
3. they played WAY too few Dark Stars---something like 8 performances.
4. they played Let It Rock too few times as well---I think only once?

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Poster: tree-ap Date: Mar 21, 2007 10:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

Oh...and I missed the most important part of '74---THE Wall of Sound!!!

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 21, 2007 12:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

.....and now for something completely predictable (from me, anyway):

1977.

hands down.

why?

OK, here goes:

1) Throw a dart. Hit virtually any 1977 show and you'll have a 5-star winner. 4 and a half at worst. Throw ten darts at May of '77 and you'll do even better. Consistently their finest year ever.
2) Legendary shows: Cornell, Buffalo War Memorial, Boston Garden, Winterland June AND December runs.
3) Songs that had been in rotation for at least 5 years, and many older ones now mastered and feature extended jams not found in previous years (yes, in come cases shorter, i.e. No more 20 minute Other Ones, but I would argue the '77 8-11 minute versions are more focused and played with fire and fury)....back to my main poit, though: songs like Half Step (11/6/77, 5/25/77) now include monster jams not found in earlier versions....ditto Jack Straw, Deal, Bertha, FOTD, and Sugaree (5/5/77).
4) Fewer mistakes. The similar set lists from night to night may not offer the range and "surprise" factor of the previous year, but it also meant they nailed these sonmgs down tight. Jerry remembers most words as does Bob. The playing is at once confident, fluid, furious, effortless.
5) Vocally superior. Jerry still has his voice, and it shines. Belts out rocking tunes like Might as Well (10/29/77) and sings tenderly and beautifully on gems like Ship of Fools (5/9/77) and Comes a Time, not to mention his blues hound voice on Morning Dew (5/8/77). This is what separates '77 from other fine years later like 1981...you can really here Jerry's voice start to lose its range after '77. Even Donna blends better in this year than any other, and sounds especially good trading verses w/Bobby on TMNS.
6) Great new songs debuting along with the old favorites. Come on, folks. This is the year they unleashed Terrapin, Estimated, Passenger, and Fire on the Mountain, which being paired with Scarlet, extended THAT brilliant song to new ecstatic heights and possibilities.
7)Old enough to have been around the block but still young enough to kick out the jams. Jerry is, what--35 years old? I'm not exactly sure, but it's in that mid-30's range. The band has survived the 60's, has matured in sound and execution of playing, but still has the youthful energy to play blazing hot shows long into the night. Not as long as the '72-'73 marathon shows, but I would argue the '77 shows have no let downs (other than the occsassional LLR) whereas those other years have some soft spots among the overall very fine long hauls).
8)Mickey&Billy. The boys are back in town, sounding great together (SugarMag 10/29/77). Yes, they were together again in '76, but not with the same intensity.
9) Great venues. The mid-size and smaller halls (Evan's fieldhouse, Barton Hall, Winterland & others)...provide great acoustics and energy. Yeah, they hit a lot of those places in other years, but not as consistently or as concentrated as in '77.
10) The magnificence that is THE year of the Betty Board. Nothing sounds cleaner, or finer.

1977.

The peak year of the Grateful Dead.

This post was modified by grendelschoice on 2007-03-21 19:07:00

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Poster: JodyC Date: Mar 22, 2007 2:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

Hey Grendels-please see the band Assembly of Dust at Higher Ground on Sat 4/14.They have a bunch of shows on archive.

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Poster: elkdog Date: Mar 21, 2007 1:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

Nice post. If I wasn't sure that I'm right about '74, I'd swear you could be on to something with '77. That was indeed a very good year.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Mar 21, 2007 2:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Oh, cmon, let's get it over with

1974 is a hell of a year, too.

Finest ChinaRiders (only 1 played in '77, though it IS a scorcher --see DP #10), brilliant Eyes of the Worlds (although my favorites are from '77 for sure: 10/29/77, 11/4/77, among the best), some great Dark Stars in '74 (none played in '77).